The Moustache by Robert Cormier: Theme & Analysis

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we will analyze the themes of the short story 'The Moustache' by Robert Cormier. This is a story about a young man whose grandmother confuses him for her deceased husband because of his moustache.

The Moustache

Think about a time when an elderly relative said something to you that revealed they were confused about the time, place, or the people around them. Did you correct them or follow along? When Mike, the narrator, goes to visit his grandmother in a nursing home to relieve his mother, the moustache he has been wearing to try to look older confuses his grandmother. She thinks that Mike is her deceased husband, who was also named Mike. When Mike realizes that his grandmother is about to make a confession, he tries to stop her, but she interrupts him and finishes explaining to him what has been on her mind for years. Afterwards, his grandmother seems to feel better, but Mike shaves off the moustache to keep from being stuck in that position again. Let's examine some of the themes from this story.

Growing Up

One of the themes, or main points of the story surrounds itself with trying to grow up too fast. Mike gives several hints that he is anxious to be an adult, such as liking his sister's boyfriend because ''he doesn't treat me like Annie's kid brother.'' His mother hates his moustache and believes he is way too young at 17 years of age to be wearing one. As a result, he is unable to get the student discount at the movie theater because he looks too old, but Mike thinks it is worth it. However, when he visits his grandmother and finds himself in the middle of an adult situation that he is not prepared to handle, Mike realizes that there is nothing wrong with being young for a little bit longer. As soon as he gets home, he ''took out the electric razor Annie had given me for Christmas and shaved off my moustache.''

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